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Bible Commentaries

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Lamentations 4

Verse 1

How is the gold become dim! how is the most fine gold changed! the stones of the sanctuary are poured out in the top of every street.

The top — Are scattered in the head of every street.

Verse 2

The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, how are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter!

Earthen pitchers — The nobles, the priests, and the good men, are looked upon no better than earthen vessels, the workmanship of an ordinary potter.

Verse 3

Even the sea monsters draw out the breast, they give suck to their young ones: the daughter of my people is become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness.

Cruel — The Jewish women are become cruel to their children, or forced to appear so, having through the famine no milk to give them, nor any thing to relieve them.

Ostriches — Like ostriches that lay their eggs, and leave them in the sand.

Verse 6

For the punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom, that was overthrown as in a moment, and no hands stayed on her.

Of Sodom — Their punishment was greater, because more lingering, and gradual, whereas Sodom was overthrown in a moment, and that by no human hands that abode upon her, causing her a continued torment.

Verse 7

Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was of sapphire:

Nazarites — Her Nazarites in this place signify her separated ones, who either in respect of birth, education, estate, or place of magistracy, were distinguished from the rest of the people.

Verse 8

Their visage is blacker than a coal; they are not known in the streets: their skin cleaveth to their bones; it is withered, it is become like a stick.

Not known — So that those who before knew them, do not know them now.

Verse 13

For the sins of her prophets, and the iniquities of her priests, that have shed the blood of the just in the midst of her,

Priests — The ecclesiastical men were a great cause of the first and last destruction of Jerusalem. And so they are of most other places that come to ruin, through their neglect of their duty, or encouraging others in their wicked courses.

Verse 14

They have wandered as blind men in the streets, they have polluted themselves with blood, so that men could not touch their garments.

They — The prophets and priests wandered up and down the streets polluting themselves with blood, either the blood of the children which they slew, or the just men, mentioned verse13, the slaughter of whom they either encouraged, or at least did not discourage; so that one could not touch a prophet or priest, but he must be legally polluted, and there were so many of them, that men could not walk in the streets, but he must touch some of them.

Verse 15

They cried unto them, Depart ye; it is unclean; depart, depart, touch not: when they fled away and wandered, they said among the heathen, They shall no more sojourn there.

Touch not — The Jews that made conscience of keeping the law against touching dead bodies, cried to the other Jews to leave the city as themselves did, the city being now so full of dead bodies that they could not stay in it without polluting themselves.

Verse 16

The anger of the LORD hath divided them; he will no more regard them: they respected not the persons of the priests, they favoured not the elders.

The anger — These words seem to be the language of their enemies triumphing over them.

They — Their enemies had no regard to the most venerable persons among them.

Verse 17

As for us, our eyes as yet failed for our vain help: in our watching we have watched for a nation that could not save us.

A nation — The Egyptians.

Verse 18

They hunt our steps, that we cannot go in our streets: our end is near, our days are fulfilled; for our end is come.

They — The Chaldeans.

Verse 20

The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of the LORD, was taken in their pits, of whom we said, Under his shadow we shall live among the heathen.

The anointed — Zedekiah, who though a bad man yet afforded some protection to the Jews.

We said — We promised ourselves that though the land of Judah was encompassed with Pagan nations, yet through Zedekiah's valour and good conduct we should live comfortably.

Verse 21

Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, that dwellest in the land of Uz; the cup also shall pass through unto thee: thou shalt be drunken, and shalt make thyself naked.

Rejoice — The prophet speaks ironically, Rejoice; but thy joy shall be but for a little time.

Drunken — Thou shalt be intoxicated with it, and make thyself naked as drunken men sometimes do.

Verse 22

The punishment of thine iniquity is accomplished, O daughter of Zion; he will no more carry thee away into captivity: he will visit thine iniquity, O daughter of Edom; he will discover thy sins.

Captivity — Not for thy past sins.

Thy sins — By the punishment of them.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Lamentations 4". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/wen/lamentations-4.html. 1765.